The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, May 28, 2018

Writing not on the Wall for Lisbon Graffiti Artists
Graffiti artists put the final touches to pieces of work at an urban art event in Lisbon July 30, 2009. When Lisbon town hall repainted the graffiti-covered walls of the bohemian Bairro Alto district, the move was welcomed by most, but graffiti artists say the urban art gallery they got in compensation is a farce. Ricardo Campos, who wrote a thesis on "the anthropology of graffiti", said the art form "came late to Lisbon, some 20 years after its boom in New York, but when it arrived in the 1990s it really exploded." Picture taken July 30, 2009.

By: Shrikesh Laxmidas

LISBON (REUTERS).- When Lisbon town hall repainted the graffiti-covered walls of the bohemian Bairro Alto district, the move was welcomed by most, but graffiti artists say the urban art gallery they got in compensation is a farce.

Ricardo Campos, who wrote a thesis on "the anthropology of graffiti," said the art form "came late to Lisbon, some 20 years after its boom in New York, but when it arrived in the 1990s it really exploded."

From luxurious Lapa to drab Almada, every district in the Lisbon area was affected by that explosion, with graffiti covering walls, buses, trains and even national monuments.

But it was Bairro Alto, a grid of narrow alleyways throbbing with armies of revelers each weekend, that suffered most, its historic buildings illegally tainted by primitive paint-spray scrawled signatures known as tags.

Residents and traders complained loudly and late last year Mayor Antonio Costa ordered a clean-up operation that within months led to the re-painting of nearly 16,000 sq m (172,200 sq ft) of walls in Bairro Alto.

The town hall declared the operation a huge success and hopes it can be replicated in other parts of the city.

But the project also brought controversy with the Galeria de Arte Urbana (GAU) - a series of panels on a hill near Bairro Alto where selected graffiti artists are invited to paint.

The city's burgeoning graffiti movement says offering panels for artists to paint on is short-sighted and artificial as graffiti has to be on walls, be it legal or not.

"I don't think it works, it's too formatted, superficial," said a 22-year-old artist known as Vhils, who grew up painting graffiti in Lisbon and now exhibits in galleries in London and Madrid alongside global graffiti stars like Britain's Banksy.

Even Pedro Soares Neves, who as an unofficial leader of the graffiti movement has been its representative with the town hall, calls GAU "a farce."

He said he accepted the Bairro Alto clean-up, hoping in exchange "to open up minds in the town hall on the role played by the artists." He is, however, disappointed that the project didn't include the artists' main request.

"By cleaning they may be just be freeing up space for more tagging. The solution could have been creating authorized walls as has been done in other cities, especially in Germany," said Odeith, who at 33 is a senior member of Lisbon's graffiti world.

They want the town hall to act as curator by choosing walls for the artists to paint on, especially Lisbon's many dilapidated abandoned buildings, provide logistical support and get the local communities behind the idea.

Soares Neves hopes the second phase of the project will include this idea. Silvia Camara, who is in charge of GAU at the town hall, said the gallery is a starting point.

"One of the plans we are studying is an expansion to other areas of the city, maybe even to walls and not under this 'panel' format," she said.

Mayor Antonio Costa, who on Sunday was re-elected for a new term, has pledged to strengthen the "anti-graffiti efforts," but also "widen the GAU experiment."

Academic Ricardo Campos said that what began as a polluting plague needs support to continue its transformation into art.

At first it was a purely illegal activity, the "writers" (artists) created a tag and "bombed" (sprayed their tag) all over the city to earn street credibility.

"But it developed into pictorial language, not just about lettering, but with large-scale murals and a complete visual, sometimes even legal. Most artists do both now," he said.

That development is clear in Odeith's panoramic creations in the Damaia suburb, including a 15-meter-wide work that depicts, in detail, a tsunami hitting Lisbon's main thoroughfare.

It is also seen in Vhils' eerie portraits and anti-consumerism works, etched with complex decay processes using acid and other chemicals.

Campos said the number of graffiti-related events staged in Lisbon this summer shows the movement has matured and that there is an audience for graffiti work.

One show pitched local artists against London ones, the Berardo art museum featured graffiti in its popular "24 hours open" event, and a major university invited graffiti artists to paint on its library walls.

(Editing by Axel Bugge and Paul Casciato)

Lisbon | Ricardo Campos | The Anthropology of Graffiti | Mayor Antonio Costa |

Last Week News

October 19, 2009

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum Exhibition Focuses on Crucial Period in Murillo's Career

Richard Rogers' Maggie's Cancer Care Centre has Won the RIBA Stirling Prize 2009

FIAC 2009 Art Fair Draws Contemporary Art Focus to Paris

Paris Photo 2009 to Spotlight Arab and Iranian Photography

The Footprints of the Builders of the Lod Mosaic were Exposed

Museum in Paris Shows Works by Artists Aware that Death was Imminent

New Survey Book of Contemporary African Art Since 1980

Thatcher Projects Opens Exhibition of New Work by Bill Thompson

National Gallery of Victoria Presents Exhibition of Photographic Works

Georgia Museum of Art Wins Three Publication Awards

Painter Peter Doig and Pianist Stephen Hough Collaborate for One Evening

Eli Wilner Reframes Winslow Homer's Old Mill for the Yale University Art Gallery

Boca Raton Museum Announces Re-Accreditation by AAM

The Art of Socialist Realism at Jeschke-Van Vliet in Berlin

Legendary Fashion Icon Holds Court at Peabody Essex Museum

First Survey of the Early Work by Sean Landers to be Shown in St. Louis

Hello World! Features Rarely Seen Works from Museum's Collection

Spencer Museum Assembles Recent Work by Video Artists Working in Asia

Feminine Figurative Works Grace Michener Art Museum's Outdoor Sculpture Garden this Winter

Exhibition to Show the Glasgow School of Art in the Early Twentieth Century

October 18, 2009

Warhol/Icon: The Creation of Image on View at The Byzantine & Christian Museum

Shepard Fairey Admits Using Key AP Photo for 'HOPE' Poster

Exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to Unlock the Secrets of Tomb 10A

Exhibition Commemorates 10th Anniversary of the National Design Awards

Indianapolis Museum of Art Announced Staffers will Face Furloughs

SOFA Chicago Returns to Navy Pier's Festival Hall for Its 16th Year

Exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Explores Concepts of "Masterpiece"

Dornier Museum Friedrichshafen Presents James Turrell's Light Installation

First Major Exhibition in Yerevan of Original Work by Artist Arshile Gorky

First Comprehensive Retrospective of Elizabeth Peyton's Oeuvre in Maastricht

Museum Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Arnaldo Roche Rabell Exhibition

LACMA Presents First Major Museum Showing of Indian Comics

MFAH Presents Most Comprehensive US Exhibition of Korean Photography

Brett Weston: Out of the Shadow at the Currier Museum of Art

Photography Installation at the Columbia Museum of Art Features Larry Clark's Gritty Images

Acquisition Enhances Gilcrease Museum's C.M. Russell Collection

Fundación Mapfre Presents Three Major Exhibitions to Mark the Start of the Season

Mirror, Mirror on the Gallery Wall: Contemporary Art Exhibition at BYU

Rare Works from the Masters Lead Christie's Fall Chinese Paintings Sale

New Berkeley Art Space Offers Eclectic Art Event on the Eve of the Day of the Dead

October 17, 2009

Museum of Fine Arts in Seville Shows Duchess of Alba's Private Art Collection

Major Retrospective of Ed Ruscha's Paintings at the Hayward Gallery

Celebrated Works by Warhol and Johns Lead Sale of Prints and Multiples

Man Who Reported Stolen Warhols Waives Insurance

Exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to Offer Rare Show of Paintings

Shepard Fairey and Steve Shames Partner to Benefit Orphans in Uganda

Erwin Wurm Turns Real Objects into Sculptures at the Lenbachhaus

Steven Charles Holds His Second Solo Exhibition at Marlborough

Kunsthaus Zürich to Show 'Van Gogh, Cézanne, Monet - The Bührle Collection'

City of Dallas to Dazzle with New Performing Arts District

The Great Inca Road, A Spectacular Photography Exhibition

Rarity and Beauty of Asian Art at Christie's London this November

Sotheby's Sales of 20th Century Italian Art and Contemporary Art Realize $32,799,234

Internationally-Acclaimed Artist Makes U.S. Solo Debut at Peabody-Essex Museum

National Gallery of Canada Pays Tribute to Kinngait Studio Artists

Museum in St.Louis Announces New Exhibition by Stephen Prina

Sotheby's Four-Day Romano Sale Achieves $15,435,780

Aboriginal Artwork for Vancouver Olympics Medals

21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY Voted #1 Hotel in U.S.

October 16, 2009

Leopold Museum Explores Love, Fear and Death in Edvard Munch's Work

Berlin's Neues Museum will be Inaugurated Friday by German Chancellor

Christie's to Auction Restituted Painting by Camille Pissarro in November

Frieze Art Fair: Stand Prize Winner Announced, Tate Acquires New Work

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Gives Major Gift to Smithsonian Museum

Swiss Curator Tops Art Power List, Damien Hirst Slumps

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum to Host Susan Rothenberg Exhibition

A New Wave of Vauxhall Collective Commissions are Announced

Monumental Sculptures by Red Grooms on View at Marlborough Chelsea

Donald Kaufman, K-B Toys Co-Founder, Revered Antique Toy Collector Dies

The Courtauld Opens Exhibition Exploring Post-War London Building Sites

Seattle Art Museum is the Only U.S. Venue for Michelangelo Drawings from Florence

Internationally Renowned Australian Artist Ricky Swallow Exhibits in Australia

SMU's Meadows School of the Arts Announces Recipients of Inaugural Meadows Prize

High will Premiere New Exhibition of Digital Portraits by Photographer Robert Weingarten

Exhibition Presents Variety of Fresh Perspectives on the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Young Tate Presents a Halloween Homage to Destruction at Tate Liverpool

Experts Find Rare Crusader-Era Murals in Syria

British Sculptor Involved in Tragic Accident Dies

October 15, 2009

Frieze Art Fair: Magnet for the Art World's Most Important Players Opens in London

First Major Exhibition of Works by Edward Hopper Opens at Palazzo Reale in Milan

Christie's to Unveil Major Works by Basquiat, Doig and Warhol

Leonardo Fingerprint Reveals Painting May be Worth $150 Million

Taubman Museum of Art Awarded 2009 International Architecture Award

Seattle Art Museum Exhibition Traces 50 Years of Alexander Calder's Career

Museum Honors the Life and Work of Its Co-Founder, Serge Sabarsky

London Three-Month Art Project that Put People on Plinth Ends

Tate Modern Replaces Nude Image of 10-Year-Old Brooke Shields

First Time Kunsthalle Wurth Shows All Paintings by Max Ernst in Its Collection

Beatles to Bowie: The 60s Exposed at the National Portrait Gallery

Discover a New Face of Contemporary Art Using Glass as a Medium

Historic Judaica from West Country Set to Make 60,000 Pounds at Bonhams

MCA Presents First Solo Exhibition in Australia of Danish-Icelandic Artist Olafur Eliasson

Scope Art Fair/Perpetual Art Machine's Lee Wells Joins Judging Panel

Museum Acquires Monumental Early Renaissance Horse and Man Armors

William Smith Pledges Second Major Gift to Detroit Institute of Arts

Smithsonian Plans to Open Human Evolution Hall

First Solo Exhibition in a Major European Institution for Jim Hodges

New Amon Carter Museum Galleries, Web Site Spotlight Remington and Russell

October 14, 2009

British Artist Damien Hirst Presents New Paintings at the Wallace Collection

Pompidou Celebrates Pierre Soulages, Indisputably the Greatest Living French Painter

Picasso and Degas Highlight Christie's Impressionist & Modern Art Sale

Denver Art Museum Appoints Christoph Heinrich as New Director

Museum To Present Two Bruce Nauman Installations from the Venice Biennale

Museum in Basel Shows Rauschenberg's Sculptural Oeuvre of the Late Eighties

Comprehensive Exhibition of Works by Anselm Reyle at Kunsthalle Tübingen

Helly Nahmad Gallery Opens Claude Monet Retrospective Exhibition

First Session of the Romano: A Century as Antique Dealers Sale Totals $6,941,785

Rudimentary Telescopes, Galileo Texts on View at Vatican Museums

Exhibition Featuring the Work by Artist Matthew Buckingham Opens

Metropolitan Opens American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915

Bonhams Specialsts Uncover Rare Imperial Roman Glass Vase

Oliver Beer is the Winner of this Year's New Sensations Prize

Tobias Tovera's Stunning Repertoire of Work on View in San Francisco

National Museum of Women in the Arts Launches Web 2.0 Initiative

Tel Aviv Museum of Art Opens Exhibition of Alex Kremer's Oil Paintings

'Impossible Exchange', a Project Commissioned for Frieze Projects

HKIAAF 09: Robust Sales Indicates Signs of Recovery in the Asian Art Market

Amon Carter Museum Announces New Public Programs Manager

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Related Stories

PortugalArte 10: A New Month-Long Biannual Art Exhibition

PHotoEspaña 2010 Opens with an Exhibition by Collier Schorr

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful